At its June 7 meeting, the Borough of Pennington was sworn in by new Mayor Jim Davy.
Former Mayor Joe Lawver, who was also a longtime Council member, had taken over as mayor while he and his family built a house in Princeton, with the understanding that when it was completed Lawver would step down.
The successor and now mayor, Jim Davy, has resided in Pennington for 20 years and was a council member from 2013-2016. In a recent interview with MercerMe, Davy said that when Lawver realized the time had come for him to leave , he asked Davy to throw his hat in the ring. “The stars aligned for me and my work schedule, so I accepted,” he said.
“The way the law works,” he explained, “is that when [Democratic] The position of council member or mayor becomes vacant, the Democratic committee presents three names to the council, and then the council chooses from among these three. This appointment lasts until the end of the year and Davy will run again in November to serve the remainder of Lawver’s term.
Davy’s experience with municipalities goes beyond four years on Council. In fact, his entire career has been devoted to municipal management.
In 1982 Davy became the second professional administrator in the Township of Hopewell, working there until 1989. During this time he became familiar with many of the issues facing the Hopewell Valley as well as many. people, like board member Charles “Chico” Marciante who, like Davy, devoted his life to public service. Marciante was Chief of the Pennington Fire Department at the same time as Davy was Administrator of the Township of Hopewell.
After leaving the Township of Hopewell, Davy worked as an administrator for several towns, ending up as an administrator for the Township of Woodbridge when Jim McGreevy was mayor there. When McGreevy was elected governor, Davy became a member of the governor’s administration, ending his 30-year career in the public sector as the NJ’s commissioner of social services.
Since then Davy has become an educator, lecturer of graduate public administration courses at Rutgers-Newark’s School of Public Affairs and Administration, and leader the Center for Applied Appreciative Inquiry, which consults with municipalities, community organizations and not-for-profit organizations on strategic planning and team building.
Of the impact of his vast knowledge and experience in municipal management on his new post as Mayor of Pennington, Davy said humbly, “I bring a different sensitivity to municipal operations.”
Davy said he sees his overarching goal as mayor to continue and advance the family and family environment that Pennington enjoys. “Pennington is a great city,” he said. “There is a great family atmosphere. We raised our kids here and we love it.
Affordability is one of the keys to keeping Pennington family, he said. “We have to make sure that we are not only profitable, but also profitable so that people can see that they are getting their money’s worth. “
Specifically, Davy said making sure parks are in top condition with child-safe equipment is a goal, as is keeping the streets well-groomed. “The borough has done a great job with this and I want to make sure it continues,” he said. Pennington’s beauty is reflected in his trees and Davy added that in addition to making sure that “if one tree falls due to disease, another comes up to replace it”, he wants to make sure the project arboretum behind Toll Gate School is over.
Over the course of his career, he says, he has built a reputation for collaborating and making sure people feel involved in decision-making. “My goal, especially with the budget,” he said, is never to let any Council member feel that they are missing information.
He said he felt the same about the residents: “People are somewhat engaged in the affairs of the borough, but I would like to see more feedback from the community.” If that means more community forums or finding other ways to engage residents, he says, he’ll be happy to do so.
“People support what they help create,” he said.
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